On September 14, 2022, Jamia Millia Islamia University (JMI) banned three former JMI students from entering campus, including Safoora Zargar, an activist who had her enrollment canceled in August 2022 (see report).
Following the cancellation of Zargar’s thesis and dissertation, she and other students held protests calling for a reversal of the decision. This included an on-campus demonstration on August 30, co-organized with Students Islamic Organisation of India, the Fraternity Movement and the Campus Front of India.
The bans were announced by JMI’s Chief Proctor, who accused the students of disturbing the academic environment and promoting a malicious political agenda.
Scholars at Risk is concerned by a university banning students for their peaceful exercise of their rights to freedom of expression and assembly – conduct which is protected by international human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which India is a party. Higher education authorities should refrain from such disciplinary actions and respect students’ exercise of the rights to freedom of expression. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, disciplinary actions intended to deter or punish organized student expression undermine academic freedom and democratic society generally.